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Oil Pollution Case Results in Felony Guilty Pleas and $750,000 Fine

Oregon Governors Fund for the Environment will receive $375,000 U.S. Attorney S. Amanda Marshall and Oregon Attorney General John Kroger jointly announced that the owner and operator of a Cyprus-based ship pleaded guilty today to felony oil pollution charges.A.E. Nomikos Shipping Inv. Ltd. and Lounia Shipping Co. Ltd. pleaded guilty to one count each of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and knowingly making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard. As part of the plea agreement, the companies agreed to pay a $750,000 fine. Half of the fine - $375,000 - will go to the Oregon Governor's Fund for the Environment, which is dedicated to local environmental cleanup and restoration efforts focused on preserving and protecting Oregon's rivers, watersheds, and fish and wildlife.Nomikos was the operator and technical manager of the Arion SB, a bulk carrier that operated under the flag of Cyprus. Nomikos provided management services pursuant to a contract with Lounia, the registered owner of the Arion SB. Nomikos is headquartered in Piraeus, Greece. Lounia is headquartered in Cyprus.Representatives of the companies entered guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon today, after which Judge Simon imposed sentence. In addition to the $750,000 fine, ...

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Rena officers face new charges

Master and second officer could be jailed over environmental damage from shipwreck Two senior officers from the Rena, the cargo ship grounded on a New Zealand reef for almost a month, are to face further charges, the country's shipping authority has announced.The Rena caused New Zealand's worst environmental crisis after it ran aground on Astrolabe Reef, off Tauranga, nearly three weeks ago, leaking hundreds of tonnes of oil.The master of the Liberian-flagged Rena and its second officer have already been charged with operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk. They were remanded on bail by the Tauranga District Court.The charge carries a maximum fine of NZ$10,000 (US$8,000) or a jail term of up to 12 months.Yesterday Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said it was laying a further charge against the two men relating to the "discharge of harmful substances from ships or offshore installations".Conviction could mean a fine of $300,000 or two years in prison, as well as a fine of $10,000 for every day the offending continued, said an MNZ statement.The court ordered the identities of the master and second officer to be suppressed and there have been reports that 19 of the Rena's 25 Filipino ...

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EU to extend coastal pollution fines to 200 nautical miles

To prevent accidents like Deepwater Horizon The European Commission on Friday proposed new rules to force oil-drilling companies to pay for pollution caused up to 200 nautical miles off European coastlines.Under the proposals, the "polluter pays" principle for damages by oil and gas conmpanies will be extended to 200 miles (about 370 kilometres) against the current 12 nautical miles."Today, most oil and gas in Europe is produced offshore, often in harsh geographical and geological conditions. Given our growing energy demand, we will need all the oil and gas from beneath our seas," said EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger."But we need to prevent accidents like Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico from happening," he said.The April 2010 blast killed 11 people and sent some 4.9 million barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf over a three-month period, wreaking havoc on the region's environment and economy. It took BP 85 days to stem the flow from its leased rig.Europe's worst oil disaster was the 1988 destruction in a fire of the Piper Alpha rig off Scotland in July 1988, which killed 167 men. The rig was later judged to have been ill-maintained and overcrowded.Of 1,000 platforms in the EU, 486 are ...

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Chittagong yard fined over deaths

For not having proper safety measures - 4 workers from toxic gas died A day after the death of 4 workers from toxic gas at the Jiri Subedar shipbreaking yard of Sitakunda, the Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday fined it Tk 25 lakh for not having proper safety measures in its shipbreaking yard.Local police the same day filed a case against 4 of its officials, including its owner Lokman Hakim, under the penal code. Others accused in the case, lodged by Sub-inspector Aminul Islam, are its Director Abu Sayed, shift-in-charge Md. Lokman and foreman Altaf Hossain.Meanwhile, the government yesterday formed a 3-member investigation committee, headed by additional secretary of the industries ministry ABM Khorshed Alam, to look into the matter.The probe body has 2 representatives -- from Bangladesh Marine Academy and 1 from the Bureau Veritas, Bangladesh -- and is given 7 days to submit a report.The 4 labourers died and 2 others fell sick while dismantling scrap ship MV Bharata Bhum at the yard, adjacent to the mill, in Sonaichhari area of Sitakunda on Sunday.A DoE team led by Director (Chittagong) Zafar Alam ordered the fines for cutting the old ship without permission from the government body, releasing toxic ...

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BP oil spill report may prompt $30 billion pay-out

BP estimates the cost of the oil spill will end up at around $42 billion Findings of the second major investigation by the U.S. government into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, may press BP into putting over $30 billion on the table to quickly settle its outstanding legal headaches.The report, released on last Wednesday, was even more damning of BP's behavior than the Presidential panel's findings, which were issued in January and February. Both reports also highlighted mistakes made by BP's contractors, driller Transocean and cement specialist Halliburton.The investigations have not left London-based BP eager to face the Department of Justice or civil claimants in court."We would like everything settled as soon as we can, otherwise you have lingering reputation issues and investor uncertainty," one insider said after the latest report.BP declined to comment on its legal strategy.Companies often drag out litigation, as payments in the future have less value than payments now.Exxon Mobil fought claims related to the 1989 Valdez spill for almost 20 years, confident it could beat down the massive sums sought by, and initially awarded to, its opponents. In the end, it was largely successful.But BP's case is not seen to be as strong. ...

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German Shipping company sentenced in Puerto Rico for intentional cover-up of oil pollution

Sentenced to pay $800,000 penalty Uniteam Marine Shipping GmbH, a German corporation, was sentenced in federal court in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard, announced Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno and U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez.The company was sentenced to pay an $800,000 criminal penalty, to include a $200,000 payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund a community service project in the District of Puerto Rico. In addition, the company was placed on three years of supervised probation and will have to implement a comprehensive advanced training and verification program to continuously monitor vessel operations and train crewmembers to prevent pollution from any ship it operates." The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute shipping companies who break the laws that protect our oceans," said Assistant Attorney General Moreno. "The penalty imposed by this sentence not only holds Uniteam Marine fully accountable for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, but also will fund projects that rehabilitate damaged marine ecosystems in Puerto Rico."Uniteam Marine Shipping GmbH operated a 16,800 ton, 603 foot ocean going container ship named the ...

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California ARB fines two shipping companies for violating low-sulfur fuel regulation

The shipping companies agreed to pay $53,000 each The California Air Resources Board has fined two shipping companies for failing to switch from dirty "bunker" fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur fuel when sailing within 24 miles of the California coast, as required by state law."Cargo vessels can burn some of the dirtiest fuels on the planet and we need to make sure that their engine emissions don't reach our coast," said ARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden. "Our fuel regulation is vitally important because it requires shippers to switch to cleaner-burning fuels that help fight air pollution in our coastal regions and port communities."The measure, adopted in 2008, eliminates 15 tons of diesel exhaust - a known carcinogen - daily from ocean-going vessels, and is considered a vital tool in helping to reduce premature deaths and the risk of cancer associated with air pollution in the state's busy ports and trade corridors.In November 2010, two vessels, both used bunker fuel well within the 24-mile limit from the coast prior to docking at the Port of Long Beach.As part of their settlements with ARB, two shipping companies agreed to pay $53,000 each, to the California Air Pollution Control Fund (CAPCF) to support air ...

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Puerto Rican-based shipping company sentenced to pay $700,000 penalty

For Intentional Cover-Up of Oil Pollution Epps Shipping Company, a Liberian corporation doing business out of Carolina, Puerto Rico, was sentenced in federal court for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and making false statements to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors, announced Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno and United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez.The company was sentenced to pay a $700,000 criminal penalty to include a $100,000 payment towards community service projects to rehabilitate and protect coral reefs in Guanica Bay, Puerto Rico. In addition, the company was placed on five years of supervised probation and will have to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan to continuously monitor and evaluate pollution prevention from any ship it owns or operates."This sentence puts the international shipping industry on notice that there are serious consequences for violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and making false statements to the United States Coast Guard," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "For its criminal violations of the law, Epps will pay a significant criminal penalty, serve five years of probation, institute an environmental compliance plan designed to prevent further violations, ...

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Four companies fined $1 million for ship pollution

Banned in Magic Pipe Case Four corporations involved in owning and operating a fleet of vessels regularly visiting New Orleans were today sentenced to pay a $1 million penalty and banned from doing business in the United States for the next five years by Judge Carl J. Barbier, the Justice Department announced.Stanships Inc. (Marshall Islands), Stanships Inc. (New York), Standard Shipping Inc. and Calmore Maritime Ltd., collectively the owners and operator of the M/V Americana, a Panamanian registered cargo vessel, each pleaded guilty on April 12, 2011, in New Orleans to 32 felony counts for violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, Ports and Waterways Safety Act and obstruction of justice.As part of the sentence, the court prohibited the shipping conglomerate from conducting further business in the United States during the maximum five year period of probation. The owner of the companies was also personally banned from being involved in the ownership or technical management of ships trading in the United States.Of the $1 million penalty, Judge Barbier ordered that $250,000 be devoted to organizational community service to help conservation, protection, restoration and management projects to benefit fish and wildlife habitats and resources in the Eastern District of ...

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Trafigura escapes prosecution over the damage caused by Probo Koala

The court rejected the bid for the case by Greenpeace The appeal court in the Hague has thrown out a bid by Greenpeace for Dutch public prosecutor to bring a criminal case against oil trader Trafigura over the damage caused by waste dumped by the tanker Probo Koala in 2006.Trafigura had earlier been found guilty in the Netherlands for transporting waste illegally from Amsterdam to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast and been fined EUR 1m ($1.4m).It had not, however, been prosecuted over the damage it allegedly caused.

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